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Apple vs Spotify: the apple lost and eats a fine of 1.84 billion euros

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For years, Apple and Spotify have been battling each other in court. The Swedish music streaming platform accuses the Cupertino company of unfair competition. After long years of legal battle, the European Commission finally delivered its verdict this Monday, March 4, 2024.

It had been hanging over his head for a while and the outcome should not be long in coming… Unsurprisingly, Apple failed to save its skin in front of senior representatives from Brussels. With the entry into force of the DSA (Digital Act of Service), which intends to push the web giants to review their entire operation on the Old Continent, the European Commission has been intransigent with Apple. And it stings: the Cupertino firm receives a heavy fine of 1.84 billion euros.

1.84 billion euros for unfair competition

Over the years, Spotify has managed to establish itself as a leader in the music streaming platform market. Particularly in most European countries. For its part, Apple is pushing Apple Music as best it can. Even if it means resorting to…controversial practices.

Since 2019, Spotify has pointed the finger at the Cupertino company. She accuses him of using App Store rules to favor his own music streaming platform. Thus, Apple would limit the possibility of competitors (like Spotify or Deezer) from informing users of other purchasing options outside the App Store. Which is ingenious given that with a 30% commission on all transactions that go through the App Store, subscriptions from competing music streaming platforms were much more expensive than usual. As a result, iPhone or iPad users were more likely to turn to Apple Music. Roughly speaking.

The European Commission therefore opened an investigation in 2020 and analyzed the facts alleged by Spotify. The verdict is clear: the Swedish company's accusations are validated by senior European representatives. An initial investigation confirmed that Apple's rules “distort competition in the music streaming services market by increasing the costs of competitors' application developers” . However, no financial sanctions were imposed. Apple was ordered to make efforts.

If the Cupertino company made a few, it's true, they didn't seem to be enough in Spotify's eyes. Yes, apps can now include links to their sites so users can sign up and pay the “real” price. But third-party application developers still cannot specify that it is possible to subscribe at a cheaper price from their site rather than via the application.

After an interminable standoff, the European Commission finally made a decision. Thus, Apple is guilty of unfair competition and will have to pay. The fine is considerable: 1.84 billion euros. This is a record that should put the ideas back in place at the Cupertino company. To arrive at this colossal sum, the European Commission took into account the duration and seriousness of the infringement, as well as Apple's total turnover and market capitalization.

Unsurprisingly, Spotify is delighted. For its part, Apple speaks of a lack of evidence of harm caused to consumers or truly anti-competitive behavior. To divert attention, Tim Cook's teams have just unveiled the new MacBook Air equipped with the formidable M3 chip.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116